20 brilliant post-apocalyptic films and TV shows, for a dash of existential dread
It might be the end of the world as we know it, but these excellent post-apocalyptic films and TV shows will make it seem just fine…
From The Last Of Us to A Quiet Place, there’s no denying that we all have a deep-rooted fascination with stories about the end of the world – or, rather, what comes after the end of the world.
Oh sure, we may lay awake at night after watching humanity’s stalwart survivors do battle with zombies/monsters/pandemics/dystopian regimes (delete as applicable), but our fondness for these oppressively gritty tales is actually pretty damn healthy. After all, the word apocalypse comes from the Greek word apokálypsis, which means ‘revelation’ – and there’s nothing quite so revelatory as a tale of hardy individuals rebuilding the world from scratch. Or, y’know, simply doing their best to endure what happens after the worst has taken place.
If you’re longing to scratch that post-apocalyptic itch, then, look no further: we’ve rounded up some of the best films and TV shows about the end of the world as we know it, and we feel extra fine about it as they’re all available to stream now…
All Of Us Are Dead
Netflix’s All Of Us Are Dead centres on a group of teenagers who find themselves trapped insidetheir high school. Why? Because it has unexpectedly become ground zero for a zombie virus outbreak, of course.
Gruesome and suspenseful, this K-drama is well worth your time. Trust us.
All Of Us Are Dead is streaming on Netflix.
Love And Monsters
Seven years after the monster apocalypse, Joel (Dylan O’Brien) has – much like the rest of humanity – been living underground in a cosy bunker. But when he starts dreaming about his ex, Aimee (Jessica Henwick), he decides to risk everything and head above ground on an epic quest.
Sure, the title is a bit naff, but this one has a 94% ‘fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes for a reason!
Love And Monsters is streaming on Netflix.
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The Walking Dead
Starring Love Actually’s Andrew Lincoln (oh yes, we dared), The Walking Dead follows a group of survivors as they struggle to stay alive in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. Too bad, then, that it’s not just the shuffling undead monsters that pose a threat…
The Walking Dead is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
The Last Of Us
Easily one of the best new series of 2023, The Last Of Us – set some 20 years after humanity has been ravaged by a terrifying fungal pandemic – sees hard-as-nails smuggler Joel (Pedro Pascal) hired to smuggle 14-year-old Ellie (Bella Ramsey) out of an oppressive quarantine zone and away to St Mary’s Hospital. Unfortunately, though, there’s a horde of infected zombies in the way – and half of them don’t even need to see the duo to attack. Just like bats, they work on the slightest sound alone, which means that they need to listen out for those tell-tale clicking sounds. Eep.
The Last Of Us airs weekly on Sky Atlantic at 2am BST. All episodes will air simultaneously in the UK and US. It will then be available on demand on Sky and NOW.
A Quiet Place
Imagine a world where making the slightest sound – even something as involuntary as a cough, a sneeze or a cry of pain – would result in your death. Now, imagine how terrifying it would be to navigate that world as a heavily-pregnant woman, knowing that the baby inside you is a ticking time-bomb. That’s A Quiet Place.
A Quiet Place is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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From a world of silence, now, we jump over to See, Jason Momoa’s post-apocalyptic series set in a future where humankind has lost its sense of sight. And so, when his twins are born with the mythic ability to see, it’s up to him to protect them from a vicious queen and her witchfinder soldiers, all of whom believe that sight is evil. Obviously.
See is streaming on Apple TV+.
This Danish post-apocalyptic drama is set six years after a rain-carried virus wipes out the entirety of the Scandinavian population. Almost the entirety, anyway. Emerging from their underground bunkers, a group of young survivors join forces and head out on a danger-filled quest throughout the abandoned land in search of signs of life… only to find that they’re not so free of societal rules as they first thought.
The Rain is streaming on Netflix.
Mad Max: Fury Road
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Tom Hardy’s Max unwillingly joins forces with Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa, a rebel warrior, in a quest to overthrow the tyrant who controls the land’s water supply.
Mad Max: Fury Road is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
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I Am Legend
When Will Smith’s scientist discovers he’s the last human survivor of a plague in the whole of New York, it’s up to him to find a way to reverse the effects of the man-made virus by using his own immune blood. Fingers crossed nothing happens to his beloved dog, Sam, eh?
I Am Legend is streaming on NOW.
28 Days Later
Both a zombie movie and a terrifying political allegory, the nightmarish world of 28 Days Later may hit a little too close to home for some after the events of the past few years. If you can bring yourself to dive in headfirst, though, just be sure to remember that there are some things far more terrifying than the rage-fuelled cannibal masses of the undead…
28 Days Later is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Zombies again? You bet. This popular Netflix series sees a group of complete strangers band together to find the strength they need to survive and get back to their loved ones. And, y’know, fight off the aforementioned zombies.
Black Summer is streaming on Netflix.
Y: The Last Man
Y: The Last Man traverses a post-apocalyptic world in which a cataclysmic event decimates every mammal with a Y chromosome, save for one cisgender man and his pet monkey. So, basically, we’re looking at a dystopia where women inherit the earth – which, considering the horrifying alternative (here’s looking at you, The Handmaid’s Tale), we’re kind of into in a big way.
Y: The Last Man is streaming on Disney+.
Bird Box, which stars Sandra Bullock, is set in a world in which the survivors of a malignant force must keep their eyes covered at all times: if they see the monster that has wiped out humanity, then they, too, will die. Cue a woman donning a blindfold and leading two children on a dangerous journey through the woods and down a river to find the one place that may offer sanctuary.
Bird Box is streaming on Netflix.
Day Of The Dead
It’s an oldie, but a goodie: Day Of The Dead sees a small team of scientists, civilians and trigger-happy soldiers take shelter in a secure base as they battle desperately to ensure the survival of the human race. From zombies, obviously. When tensions reach breaking point, though, it soon becomes apparent that it may be just as dangerous inside the base as it is outside…
Day Of The Dead is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
Based on the Vertigo comic book, Sweet Tooth takes us along on the adventure of Gus – part deer, part boy, all heart – who leaves his home in the forest to find the outside world ravaged by a cataclysmic event.
Sweet Tooth is streaming on Netflix.
Set in a tragic future, Wool shines a light on a community that exists in a giant silo set deep, deep underground. There, men and women live in a society full of rules and regulations they believe are meant to protect them from the toxic wasteland above… but is all as it seems?
Wool will become available for streaming via Apple TV+ in 2023.
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This incredibly bleak film sees a father forced to protect his son from a group of cannibals who menace the streets. They plan to head south, where there might be a hospitable environment to live in – but their journey proves that you don’t need a monster to make a horror: simply taking something as basic as food away from people creates a far more terrifying breed of monster entirely.
The Road is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Set seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland, all remaining life lives aboard a super-train that stretches 1,001 cars long. Dubbed the Snowpiercer, it circles the globe on an endless, furious loop – and inside the remnants of humanity have been divided into classes: the rich elites are upfront, while the impoverished “tailies” seethe in the back.
What will happen, though, when those who have been subjected to oppression their entire lives decide to resist, rise up, and revolt? Well, that’s what the series aims to find out.
Snowpiercer is streaming on Netflix.
Imagine being some of the sole survivors of a devastating flu – what would you do? Hide? Flourish? Remain wholly unchanged? That’s one of the central focuses of Station Eleven, the incredible adaptation of Emily St. John Mandel’s 2014 novel of the same name.
Station Eleven is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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Children Of Men
In 2027, 18 years of human infertility have left society on the verge of extinction. And so, when one woman (Clare-Hope Ashitey) miraculously gets pregnant, it’s up to bureaucrat Theo (Clive Owen) to transport her to safety.
Children Of Men is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
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